The principles that rule this blog

Principles that will govern my thoughts as I express them here (from my opening statement):

  • Freedom of the individual should be as total as possible, limited only by the fact that nobody should be free to cause physical injury to another, or to deprive another person of his freedoms.
  • Government is necessary primarily to provide those services that private enterprise won't, or won't at a price that people can afford.
  • No person has a right to have his own beliefs on religious, moral, political, or other controversial issues imposed on others who do not share those beliefs.

I believe that Abraham Lincoln expressed it very well:

“The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but cannot do, at all, or cannot
so well do, for themselves — in their separate, individual capacities.”

Comments will be invited, and I will attempt to reply to any comments that are offered in a serious and non-abusive manner. However, I will not tolerate abusive or profane language (my reasoning is that this is my blog, and so I can control it; I wouldn't interfere with your using such language on your own!)

If anyone finds an opinion that I express to be contrary to my principles, they are welcome to point this out. I hope that I can make a rational case for my comments. Because, in fact, one label I'll happily accept is rationalist.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Goodbye, Borders

My favorite blog (other than this one!), Dennis Sanders' "Big Tent Revue," has in the past week done two posts on the demise of the Borders bookstore chain. I suppose if he can do so on his mostly-political blog, so can I. He comes originally from Michigan, so I suppose his contacts with Borders go way back. I first discovered them in the 1980s or 1990s, when a Borders store opened in the Washington, D. C. suburbs. I'd never seen a store with so many books on some of the topics I liked, all in one place! (Barnes & Noble, which goes back a long way and which I knew back in my college days, the late 1950s, was primarily a place to buy used textbooks; eventually, of course, they turned into the same sort of big-box general bookstore that Borders became. But that wasn't the Barnes & Noble I remember.) The Borders store in question got bigger, outgrew their original space, and moved into a big shopping mall a block or so away, and other Borders stores opened in the area until, at one point, there were 3 stores in D. C., and a fair number in the suburbs. Most of them have now already closed; the two remaining ones will close soon as the chain dies.

I could see it coming. Though I actually worked at Borders for a while in 1998, and my wife actually worked at a different Borders store for 12 years and a few months, until her store closed earlier this year, it has become clear that the wave of the future is This became obvious in recent years, when I found that even though, as the spouse of an employee, I had a 33% discount on all books I bought at Borders, I could still get some cheaper on Amazon. It is just too expensive to maintain a brick-and-mortar store.

When my aunt died and left me an inheritance (she died many years ago, but the inheritance became available only last year), I put a sizable chunk of the money into Amazon stock. It has done amazingly well. Obviously, there is money to be made from selling books — but not in the type of store that Borders represents. Borders, like Tower Records a few years ago, is a store I'm sorry to see go. But you cannot expect a company to stay in business if they cannot make a profit. Goodbye — I loved you when you were here.

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